On Banking Software

BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) suffered some account balance inconsistencies on their online channels for a few days last week. This stirred widespread panic and disappointment in their services during that time, forcing their customers to go manual. Everything’s back to normal now, but it is undeniable that the banking organization was hurt by what had transpired.

Some thoughts:

  • Banking software, and any software which deals with money and investments, are very sensitive, because people care a lot about their hard-earned cash. Such software need to be precise, secure, on schedule, resilient, and performant, probably much more than what other categories of software are expected to be. People will complain loudly if the software is slow, customers will be scared out of their wits if they are unable to log in on their accounts, and panic will ensure if suspicious transactions are found even if they’re only bugs.
  • Software that’s stable today might not be tomorrow. Systems can break, sometimes for trivial reasons, and what’s important is what an organization and it’s people do when bad things happen.
  • It might be a good idea to open accounts in other banks, to diversify.